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Music Review: Taragana Pyjarama "Tipped Bowls" Via Kompakt Records


Nick Eriksen is barely 21 and he's already on his second alias. His first name, Eim Ick became a common drop in knowing circles when he was just 19. Tracks like “On On On,” and “East West” are dreamy, frothy and ethereal, but also tethered to spindly, fiber-optic funk reminiscent of Tycho's technicolor soundscapes and The Field's astral techno. It's easy to hear how they became staples in more nuanced DJ sets and led to remixing indie electronic darlings like Delorean and Miami Horror.

In the year or so since his auspicious debut, the restless Danish music student who couldn't stand formal instruction (nor the rush of acclaim), has morphed into his current persona with a Roxy Music inspired name that could drive a spelling bee champ into a murderous tizzy: Taragana Pyjarama. His first release as TP was "Girls," a swirling, gingerly syncopated, haunted-carousel loop, reminiscent of Jori Hulkonnen's earlier melodic, melancholy tracks. This led to a deal with France's Fool House, who released his self-titled EP in 2011, featuring the blunted, otherworldly "Sudanese Blonde" and the skittering, ambient "Ocean."

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On his debut for Michael Meyer's Kompakt label, Tipped Bowls, (released June 18), the music is still expansive listening, but it's also a more kinetic experience. The precocious flash of his previous releases is muted, replaced by a more sophisticated polish. “Four Legged” opens the album with cinematic flair, building from a slow, shy pulse into a siren call from a waning galaxy. “Growing Forehead” (featuring Kiki Halmos) glows like a witchy spell by the Knife or Cocteau Twins. “Lo Ng,” is a shuffling, percolating track padded with drum rolls and swathed in misty synth notes. The title track sounds like an elfin workshop until the metronomic sparkle and cranking grinds to a meditative silence punctuated by clanging bowls.

The way in which Eriksen effortlessly lets his intricate beats unravel, crawl to precipitous bridges, and plunge in slow motion into seemingly bottomless breaks is enthralling in its audacity. The songs could easily shatter into a million shiny, incoherent shards, but they don't. Like precious animatromic creatures, they are borne aloft by the peculiar principles of Eriksen's sonic universe. His daring approach has drawn comparisons to Four Tet when he slips on his House slippers, and gained enthusiastic support from highbrow party animals When Saints Go Machine and Hot Chip who have raved about him on the social web. It will be interesting to see how these ideas play out live when Taragana Pyjarama tour as a trio and how they evolve as Eriksen matures under a widening spotlight. When Eriksen adopted his new alias, his aim was to distance himself from his early success and clear a path for his future. If Tipped Bowls is any indication, it's going to be an enchanted journey.

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